Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Frank Capra

One of the greatest names behind the Hollywood camera of the 20th century was that of writer, director, and producer, Frank Capra. He was born in Sicily on this day in 1897. Capra was certainly old school and confined virtually all of his film making to black and white. I read recently where young people have little interest in watching films unless they are in color. That means a huge inventory of significant motion pictures - including Capra's - may soon be neglected along with a major segment of the industry's history. How unfortunate because shooting in black and white is an art with focus on story line, the interplay of light and shadow, and texture. Color often limits or conflicts all of these elements.

Frank Capra.jpg
Frank Capra portrait from the 1930's

So what did Capra produce in his black and white world? Here's a small portion:

It Happened One Night (1934)

Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936)

Lost Horizon (1937)

You Can't Take It With You (1938)

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)

War Department Film Series (1942-45)

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

Here Comes The Groom (1951)

Each of these films received Academy Award nominations and all but one - It's A Wonderful Life - received Oscars in one or more categories.   Undoubtedly Capra leaves us a rich legacy in 20th century film entertainment. It's a legacy anyone can enjoy and there's a good chance we'll learn something about the human condition we share.


Photos and Illustrations:
portrait, public domain photo by Columbia Pictures,


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